How Okta tracks and maximizes climate impact

"Our spreadsheet process wasn’t sustainable, and we wanted to be more nimble at projecting our emissions trajectory."

okta

Okta is an identity management company building a world where anyone can safely use any technology powered by their identity. It takes a similar inclusive approach to its climate work, centering its responsibility to drive positive impact for everyone. Okta’s founders are vocal about their long-term responsibility to their community and the environment, saying they “lead Okta with the conviction that how we build the future is as important as what we build."

Measuring in weeks, not months

Okta began conducting annual greenhouse gas inventories in 2019 and achieved its goal of 100 percent renewable electricity for global offices and work-from-home consumption in 2021. But the initial inventory process was manual and reliant on spreadsheets.

When Okta committed to setting science-based targets (SBTs) in November 2021, it had a sophisticated perspective on how to achieve these reduction goals but needed a platform for tracking and visualizing that progress, critical to aligning with Okta’s core business value of transparency.

The pain points that we went through to submit our SBTs made it evident that our small team needed something like Watershed. Our spreadsheet process wasn’t sustainable, and we wanted to be more nimble at projecting our emissions trajectory.

Sophia Beavis,
Workplace Sustainability Manager

Okta chose Watershed after evaluating several potential partners, and quickly saw value in time saved. “We turned around our first inventory with Watershed in four weeks, a process that previously took a few months,” said Sophia.

Tracking progress to goals

Okta’s ambitious SBTs were validated in September 2022. When discussing its use of Watershed, Sophia said, “I encourage other sustainability teams to embrace climate software early on. If you’re setting science-based targets, Watershed makes it really easy to understand the steps you need to take to meet them.”

Okta initially found organizing internal stakeholders was a challenge during its previous measurements, but the transition to Watershed made this collaboration easy. Sophia said, “Watershed is very user-friendly, especially for people who have never used software like this before. If you’re a procurement person, it’s very straightforward to upload documents.”

We love to dig into the methodology of what we’re doing with climate. Watershed’s Climate Advisors and Carbon Data experts have been really helpful in understanding the right way to approach some of our calculations. The partnership feels very custom to our needs.

Sophia Beavis,
Workplace Sustainability Manager

The depth of the platform also contributes to comprehensive and accurate ongoing modeling. “Watershed goes deep on every category of emissions,” said Sophia. Of particular interest was the ability to represent the emissions for Okta’s many remote workers, for whom Sophia’s team made the Dynamic Work Sustainability Guide.

Extra time to act

Watershed’s platform saves Okta a significant amount of time per year, giving the team “hours back to focus on critical work rather than managing data transfers,” shared Sophia.

And part of what that work looks like is identifying and investing in net-new renewable energy projects that prioritize environmental justice. Sophia said, “Climate equity is a top priority for our team and we invest in projects that help relieve the burden of climate change in communities.” Three of those projects include Solar Stewards in Utah, PosiGen in Louisiana and California Bright Schools.

Capturing the window of opportunity

Okta has big plans to further reduce its footprint, including working with its global property managers to reduce emissions tied to natural gas and refrigerants, reducing emissions from employee business travel and commuting, and collaborating with vendors using Watershed Supply Chain to capture and influence its Scope 3 emissions.

Okta’s leadership understands the urgency behind tracking progress of its climate goals: “The window of opportunity to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change is closing…. Combating climate change is a collective effort that requires constant evaluation, adjustments, and transparency—and Okta is more than ready to do our part.”